Saturday, December 7, 2013

Commissions and that 'it' factor

Commissions. They are at the same time a blessing and curse. They challenge me...often urging me to go out of my comfort zone to create an image that can become something I can proudly claim all while meeting the expectations/desires of the client. They are a way to stretch myself as an artist. They can be fun and inspiring. I've had a couple of commissions that spurred other paintings I've done later down the road.

I was asked to create a piece with three horses standing at a fence. I came up with several sketches and got the approval from the client for one of the five I presented to him. I began the piece with enthusasim. But as the piece progressed, it lost 'it'. 'It' is the thing that makes the piece work...where everything comes together and makes for a successful image. 'It' can be the magic/spirit of the piece, the combination of composition, color, light & shadow all working together in perfect harmony. I know I'm not the most elequent person with words. Images have always been easier for me to get across what I'm feeling/seeing/saying so I apologize if this doesn't make any sense. But often when I work on a piece I know it has 'it'. Sometimes, the piece loses 'it' during the painting process and can easily be reclaimed by fixing something or starting over. Some pieces I've never been able to pull off and successfully get that 'it' factor back. This is something that has always been as a feeling. I just know when a painting has it or doesn't. There are a few of my pieces that I know have a special 'it' factor and most of those pieces have been ones that sold immediately or have won awards at competitions. I just know when a piece works and when it doesn't. I'm sure if I really tried, I could critique my work and put into words what the 'it' factor is for all of my pieces, successful or not.

So, why am I explaining the 'it' factor I feel about my work? Because I have a show and tell! :D

Here is the first piece I came up with for the client. The image came directly from my sketch and I used all of the reference photos provided to help me with the coloring and marking of the horses.

Attempt #1

I was feeling good about the piece until I started putting in the shadows of the horses, especially the middle one. I really knew I lost my painting mojo when I painted the eyes of the horse on the far right. I struggled. I should have just started over but I was GOING to make it work! YES! Because I'm stubborn and don't like to quit. And this is the result. Doesn't have 'it'. I can easily critique it to say what isn't working, but I have more to write so I'll leave it to you to critique and we can all agree that there are many things that aren't harmonious.

Attempt #2

There a few more things to tweak, I know the piece can be a touch stronger... that is my goal tomorrow, to finish it, but the feeling that this attempt has 'it' is still there. I'm happy with the result and am excited to present it to my client. Thank heavens for his patience! I feel so bad making him wait, but now (especially now) after viewing the finished image, I think he'll like it much better. Lets just hope he wasn't dead set on having the horses stand at a fence!

Well, I've prepared a couple of upcoming paintings so hopefully in the next couple of days/weeks I'll have some more fun images for you! :D

1 comment:

Jess said...

I agree with your decision--the second one is definitely working. I have a few of those paintings I started and they didn't have "it." They have been set aside and I will throw them away, after I start them over. I'll keep them around long enough to know what NOT to do again. Can't wait to see your new paintings!!